They have so much in common. They both come from Christian homes. They were both homeschooled. They both have experienced being in the limelight of television and the media. And they are both very attractive and, most importantly, single!
Yes, Tim Tebow and Jana Duggar are the perfect couple!
But then again, maybe not.
Because Tim and Jana are in different tiers.
Let me explain.
Christian homeschoolers are an eclectic group. We hold varying viewpoints on many subjects, and embrace many styles of living. Yet, as I have contemplated these differences, I have come to the realization that homeschoolers can be categorized into 5 primary groupings, or tiers. And if you are a homeschooler, trust me, you fall into one of these tiers.
To help you understand my reasoning I will need to explain how the tier system works by describing each tier. Please understand that the following descriptions are generalized and that not every person in every tier believes exactly the same. In addition, there can be some overlapping of tiers (for example, you could be a tier 2 with tier 3 leanings.) I have made my evaluation based on 5 primary areas in which homeschoolers differ: interaction, family structure, mode of dress, relationships, and media.
Stay with me now!
TIER 1 – THE ROD AND STAFF HOMESCHOOLERS
The Rod and Staff homeschoolers (named after a well-known publisher from this tier) include the Amish and Mennonites and a few others who adhere to similar ideologies. They are the most conservative of all the groups and place a strong focus on holy living.
Interaction – Tier 1 homeschoolers live in rural communities, separated from most of the world in an attempt to remain unpolluted from sinful influences. Their children spend time with their own siblings or other children from Tier 1 type homes so that they will not be adversely affected by ungodly beliefs or behavior.
Family structure – Tier 1 follows a patriarchal model. The men are often farmers or own their own businesses and are the authoritative heads of their homes. Wives are homemakers and submit unquestionably to their husbands. Children are taught obedience, and strong discipline is enforced. Boys help their fathers in the family business and in running their farms. Girls help care for the house, learning homemaking skills from their mothers. Extended education is considered unnecessary, especially for females.
Mode of Dress – Tier 1 members are committed to modesty and simple living. As a result their clothing is loose fitting, covers most of the body, and is plain. Males dress in button down shirts and have beards. Women wear head coverings, dresses that extend past the knees, thick stockings, and practical shoes (no stilettos allowed.) The hair is kept long and pinned up so as not to draw attention.
Relationships – Tier 1 homeschoolers follow a courtship or betrothal model. Parents and families are heavily involved in the courtship and young couples are always chaperoned. Practically all physical affection is prohibited prior to marriage.
Media – Strict limitations are placed on media. Television is frequently banned. Music consists of hymns or non-contemporary worship. Secular music is also banned, other than simple and wholesome folk songs. The Internet and computers are used only for business and educational purposes.
TIER 2 – SKIRTWEARER HOMESCHOOLERS
Skirtwearers are the second tier and are also very conservative, yet not as strict in certain areas as the Rod and Staff homeschoolers.
Interaction – Tier 2 families gravitate toward country living but can also be found in cities. They are more social than Rod and Staff homeschoolers, participating in homeschool and community activities. Interaction with unbelievers or believers with differing views occurs, but is limited. Children have some exposure to other children outside of their Christian homeschool group, but it is carefully monitored.
Family Structure – The family structure is patriarchal, but wives in the Tier 2 are more open and outspoken than in tier 1. Michelle Duggar is a Tier 2. She demonstrates a gentle spirit, yet is comfortable interjecting when her husband speaks. Tier 2 children are strongly disciplined. Their education occasionally includes a few outside classes and activities with homeschool groups. College is considered acceptable for males if it is conservative and Christian. Females with the gift of persuasion with their dads occasionally attend college, but more often they stay at home helping raise siblings or learning skills like midwifery.
Mode of Dress – Skirtwearers are modest and always wear dresses and skirts (hence the name of this tier) but are not limited to one particular style like Tier 1. They are also encouraged to look feminine and pretty. Skirts extend past or at the knee. Swimdresses are the choice for swimwear. Hair is often long but with a little more of a contemporary style than Tier 1. Simple make-up and jewelry are allowed. Males typically wear button down shirts (lots of plaid) or polo shirts and are clean cut.
Relationships – Courting is the norm, with a few preferring betrothal. Family is heavily involved in the courtship process and siblings participate as chaperones. Physical contact is limited, with handholding sometimes occurring once engaged. Brief side hugs are allowed, and frontal hugs are anathema! There is a strong emphasis on guarding your heart and saving the first kiss until married.
Media – Tier 2 allows limited media usage in their homes. Occasional viewing of wholesome oldies like “Little House on the Prairie” is permitted. Christian and G movies are also watched. Internet is implemented but is carefully monitored. Music is often a big part of the Tier 2 home life with many children, like the Duggars, playing multiple musical instruments. Music includes hymns and mild contemporary Christian worship. Some secular music is permitted, but it cannot have any sexual or worldly content, or profanity.
TIER 3 – Will be discussed after TIERS 4 AND 5
TIER 4 –THE TRENDY HOMESCHOOLERS
The Trendy homeschooler is much more mainstream than Tiers 1, 2, and 3 homeschoolers and even though they have their quirks, generally fit in well in secular society.
Interaction – Tier 4 homeschoolers can be urbanites or rural and are involved in a wide spectrum of activities. While the majority of their educational and social experience occurs within the homeschooling sphere, they also participate in sports (like our football loving Tim,) take classes at community colleges, and enjoy such activities as speech and debate and English country dances. Family is a big part of their lives, but other relationships are also fostered.
Family Structure – Tier 4 is not patriarchal. Biblical principles of husband and wife relationships are followed, but Tier 4 views submission as more of an equal partnership, with the husbands making the final decisions when there is a difference of opinion. Husbands commonly have more traditional jobs in offices. Moms alternate their time with teaching at home and driving kids to classes and extracurricular activities. Extended education is strongly encouraged for both male and female children.
Mode of dress – Tier 4 homeschoolers adhere to a standard of modesty but their standard is not as strict as tiers 1-3. Shorts, skirts that fall above the knee, tank tops and skinny jeans are frequently worn. Hairstyles and make-up are contemporary. Swimwear is one-pieces and tankinis. Males adhere to more modern styles as well. My conclusion that Tim Tebow and Jana Duggar are not compatible is based partly upon their standards of dress. Duggars only wear very modest skirts and dresses, while photos of Katie Tebow’s (Tim’s sister) wedding shows her bridal gown and the bridemaid’s dresses as strapless – something a female in Tier 2 would never sanction. And Tim himself has been photographed many times shirtless, flexing his pecs, while a Tier 2 male has his chest covered even when swimming.
Relationships – Courtship or intentional dating can be chosen, although Tier 4’s version of courtship is not as closely guarded as in other tiers and couples can spend time alone. Parent’s approval is sought, but their involvement is limited. Physical contact is more common, with handholding and embracing considered acceptable. Most Tier 4’s do not save their first kiss until married, but many wait until engagement.
Media – Tier 4 families enjoy a wide range of music. They listen to both secular and Christian music in many styles with some limitations for profanity and sexual content. Television is allowed but monitored by parents. Movies can be G, PG, and PG-13, and even on an occasional R for films like “The Patriot” and “The Passion of the Christ.” The internet is widely used by both parent and child, but parents often place blocks to prevent access to pornography.
TIER 5 – LIBERAL MINDED HOMESCHOOLER
Tier 5 homeschoolers are more liberal in their thinking, pushing the limits of their Christian experience. Some fully adhere to Biblical teaching, some do not. Unbiblical lifestyles such as homosexuality can be accepted and even defended by tier 5, sometimes resulting in homeschoolers in the other tiers questioning the salvation of their Tier 5 brothers and sisters in Christ.
Interaction – Tier 5 homeschoolers are very involved with the secular world. They have their church and Christian homeschool groups, but other educational avenues and activities are pursued. They often attend secular, sometimes even very liberal universities, prioritizing high paying, successful careers, over receiving an explicitly Christian secondary education. Family matters, but friendships outside of the family are heavily cultivated.
Family Structure – Family structure is never patriarchal. Parents are often more devout Christians than their kids and the kids can at times challenge their parents doctrinal beliefs. Also, Tier 5 is often made up of former Tier 1 and 2 members that become disgruntled with the restrictions of their tiers and rebel against those restrictions.
Dress – Clothing that would scandalize the members of Tiers 1 and 2 are often worn in Tier 5. Extremely short shorts and skirts and bikinis are worn by females. Ultra trendy fashions are common in males and females.
Relationships – Dating is always the preferred method. Handholding, embracing and kissing are not only accepted, but promoted. Some Tier 5’ers will even argue that all sexual activity is acceptable prior to marriage.
Media – All forms of media are generally accepted in Tier 5 with pornography being the only line drawn. R rated films, are considered acceptable. All forms of music are also deemed suitable with only a handful of exceptions.
TIER 3 – THE IN-BETWEEN HOMESCHOOLER
I’ve left Tier 3 until the end because the In-Between homeschoolers are harder to categorize since in some areas they are 2’s and some 4’s. Very rarely will they embrace a view from Tier 1, and never any belief from Tier 5. They are ultra-conservative in some things, but mainstream in others. For example, a Tier 3 homeschooler may not believe in watching any movies that aren’t rated G or Christian, but they are fine with females wearing pants. They also might be fully committed to chaperoned courtship but love to listen to Randy Houser croon “Like a Cowboy.” This is why they have earned their own category and are considered to be the In-Between homeschoolers.
But let’s get back to the Tim and Jana equation. After reviewing my tier system it should be pretty clear that Jana is a Tier 2 and Tim is probably a Tier 4. And while it is possible to marry up or down one tier, marrying up or down two tiers doesn’t happen. There are simply too many differences for a marriage to work unless one of the tier members changes their viewpoints and moves to a different tier. So Tim and Jana will have to keep looking (closer to their own tiers) for their soul mates.
Our family has had a lot of fun evaluating and categorizing our homeschool friends, but we always try to remember one thing: we are all a part of the Christian homeschool community (a wonderful community I might add) and more importantly, we are all a part of the body of Christ. While we may have some differing views and ways of living, we are all one in our Savior.
So which tier describes you?
And what about your homeschool friends?
And…can you guess which tier our family belongs to?
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